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Do you have a question for a

                farmer, rancher or gardener?

Have you ever wondered where your food comes from or what it takes for it to end up on your plate?  How does your garden grow and what helps it produce the best crops? Or what a typical day looks like for a rancher?  

 

Well, wonder know more

 

Submit your questions and we will work with our experts to serve up the answers.

SAMPLE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

What do seeds need to sprout?

Seeds need water to sprout.  They also need oxygen from the air. Seeds must have something to grow in, such as soil.  Most seeds like to be covered up with a little bit of soil so they can sprout, but a few need sunlight to get started and don’t need to be covered up.  Finally, the temperature must be just right for seeds to sprout.  Some seeds like cool temperatures and some like very warm temperatures.

Does an eggplant really grow eggs?

No.  Eggplants grow shiny fruit that are shaped sort of like eggs.  Eggplant fruit can be purple, white or green. The fruit can be big or small.  Eggplants are related to tomatoes and potatoes. 

Why are some pumpkins small and others are gigantic?

Not all breeds of animals look the same.  You might have a very small pet chihuahua, and your friend may have a large Great Dane. Plants can be different breeds, too.  We call these breeds varieties.  Every plant variety has special characteristics that belong only to them.  This means that some varieties of pumpkins are small and others are very large!  That is also why some pumpkins are orange and others are white or grey. 

 

Did you know that the biggest pumpkin in the world was grown in Belgium in 2016?  According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it was 2,624 pounds (1,190 kg)! 

Why does rhubarb taste sour?

The reddish-green part of rhubarb that you eat is called a stalk.  The stalks are sour because they contain a small amount of a chemical called oxalic acid.  This chemical has a sour taste.  Spinach also has oxalic acid in it.

How long doe it take for
carrots to grow from the time
they are planted?

SAMPLE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

What do seeds need to sprout?

Seeds need water to sprout.  They also need oxygen from the air. Seeds should have something to grow in, such as soil.  Most seeds like to be covered up with a little bit of soil so they can sprout, but a few need sunlight to get started and don’t need to be covered up.  Finally, the temperature must be just right for seeds to sprout.  Some seeds like cool temperatures and some like very warm temperatures.

Does an eggplant really grow eggs?

No.  Eggplants grow shiny fruit that are shaped sort of like eggs.  Eggplant fruit can be purple, white or green. The fruit can be big or small.  Eggplants are related to tomatoes and potatoes. 

Why are some pumpkins small and others are gigantic?

Not all breeds of animals look the same.  You might have a very small pet chihuahua, and your friend may have a large Great Dane. Plants can be different breeds, too.  We call these breeds varieties.  Every plant variety has special characteristics that belong only to them.  This means that some varieties of pumpkins are small and others are very large!  That is also why some pumpkins are orange and others are white or grey. 

 

Did you know that the biggest pumpkin in the world was grown in Belgium in 2016?  According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it was 2,624 pounds (1,190 kg)! 

Why does rhubarb taste sour?

The reddish-green part of rhubarb that you eat is called a stalk.  The stalks are sour because they contain a small amount of a chemical called oxalic acid.  This chemical has a sour taste.  Spinach also has oxalic acid in it.

My vegetables were hit hard by a recent hailstorm. What can I do to save them?

Don’t rush to remove foliage or pull up damaged plants – the root systems may still be strong and uninjured and the plants need as much leaf surface as possible for photosynthesis.  Clean up any plant debris that is laying on the ground, however.  Maintain your regular watering schedule, as needed.  Other than that, just wait and see – it’s amazing how resilient plants are, and they may rebound in a few short weeks.

What types of mulch can I use in my vegetable garden?

Clean straw that has no weed seeds in it is highly suitable.  You can also use grass clippings, as long as they haven’t been sprayed with herbicides and they are weed-free. Wood shavings and sawdust is good, as well.  Some gardeners will use dried leaves.  Use about a 2-inch (5 cm) layer of mulch in your vegetable garden. Do not pile mulch up right against the stems of the plants, as that promotes rot. 

My carrot seeds aren’t coming up and I planted them weeks ago.  What should I do?

Carrots are very tiny seeds and if they are buried too deeply in the soil, they may take a long time to come up (or they may not germinate at all).  The other key to carrot seeding success is to keep the seed bed moist.  Do not let carrot seeds dry out – they may fail to germinate, or in some cases, the seeds will sprout only to rapidly perish without sufficient water.  Check how long your growing season is in your area and if there is still enough time to reseed. If there is, replant now!  (You can also get short-season carrot varieties, so you might want to plant those instead of a long-season variety.  On the seed package, look for the shortest days to maturity).

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